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Traffic accident risks go up in fall when clocks go back an hour

The end of daylight saving time ushers in a season for increased risks for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists in Oregon. Shifting clocks back one hour allows people to get an extra hour of sleep on that weekend, but the disturbance to their sleeping and waking cycles raises the possibility of drowsy driving in the following weeks. A report from an insurance organization in the Pacific Northwest identified an increase in collisions during afternoon commutes two weeks following the clock change.

In another study conducted in a major metropolitan area, traffic accidents with pedestrians and bicyclists were the highest in October through December. This study also concluded that people bothered by the clock change tended to be sleepy while behind the wheel. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation plays a role in over 6,400 fatal traffic accidents every year. The foundation also attributed roughly 50,000 debilitating injuries to drowsy driving accidents annually.

Although changing the clocks exacerbates the problem of sleep-deprived drivers, drowsy driving remains a common threat throughout the year. A survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 27% of respondents drove when they could barely keep their eyes open at least once within the previous 30 days.

When a driver fails to operate a vehicle safely and causes an accident, they could be considered liable for any resulting damages. An attorney who focuses on motor vehicle accidents might advise a victim about rights to compensation and assist with the accident investigation. Legal counsel may know where to look for evidence of driver negligence that might support an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.

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